Article by Sarah Joseph
Photo Courtesy of Erin Keating
Greek music spilled out of the streets, smells of Greece permeated the air, and cardboard ruins stood at the entrance, all of these clearly indicating a sense of Greece.
Last weekend on Sept. 16, 17, and 18, Roanoke’s very own Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church hosted the annual Greek Festival. This year, they celebrated the 10th anniversary and partnered with the YMCA to run the first ever MIKROmarathon (half-marathon), on Sept. 17. All runners got to celebrate and feast at the finish line drawn at the Greek Fest.
Feast they did, with a wide variety of authentic Greek cuisine: pastichio and moussaka (both a Greek-style lasagna with the latter combined with eggplant), chicken and pork souvlaki (shish kabab), Greek salad, dolmades (rice and herb stuffed grape leaves), rice pilaf, yahni (green beans), tiropita and spanakopita (cheese and spinach pie, respectively), and gyros. If that was not enough for the half-marathon runners, then they could enjoy some Greek pastries and coffee, especially the baklava, galaktobouriko (a filo-dough custard), and the heavenly loukoumades (honey donuts).
In addition, one could sit back and enjoy the live Greek music and the traditional Greek dancers performing. There was also an agora (vendor booth) selling an assortment of Greek related things, a KidZone with games, face paint, and sand art, and sanctuary tours for those interested in architecture and history. Near the KidZone there were fun cardboard cutouts, all in the shape of a famous ancient sculptural form, in which people can put their heads in and take pictures. To top it all off there was a raffle in which one could win two round trip tickets to Athens and/or $1500!
All around the Greek Festival was a great moment for Roanoke to celebrate Greek culture and come together as a community.